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Detroit Lions stock report: Mock game mocks season

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A near disaster of an injury almost completely derailed an up and down final open practice for the Detroit Lions. Some clear issues have shown themselves with time to address before the season starts.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The completion of the mock game on Family Day at Ford Field signals the end of open practices for Detroit Lions fans in 2016. The bad news then is that we won’t get to see the team up-close in practice anymore, with the good news being that games are coming, like actual football games with football players doing football things. The mock game was fun, though it was a little more difficult to get an idea of reps since the team basically just threw players on the field in a much rougher representation of where the players have been used.

Stock Up: Jay Lee, WR

At Baylor there were questions about Lee’s hands, and since drops were a concern and there was an already limited route tree, it made it harder to project. Lee put on a show for fans during the mock game, catching almost everything thrown his way. More importantly, he did so on route other than just a go. His routes weren’t great, as you’d expect given his experience, but they were adequate and his field awareness to know what was inbounds and how to contort his body were on display.

Stock Down: Eric Ebron, TE

We still don’t know to what extent this stock is down, but due to the circumstances surrounding his injury it surely looks rock bottom with fans. Ebron was carted off the field and unable to put pressure on his leg. The former sounds bad, but players are carted off during training camp with some regularity in camp as a precautionary measure. Not being able to put pressure on it is more concerning, but ambiguous as to what injury it was. There’s still plenty of mystery to go around with this one, so all we can do is stay tuned and wait for updates.

Stock Up: Dan Orlovsky, QB

Orlovsky had a rocky training camp on Friday, but was sharp as ever during the mock game Saturday. More than just being efficient, Orlovsky was mostly accurate all day. That may seem like a given for an NFL quarterback, but there's a running joke among the writers who attend camp about Orlovsky's passes. "High and to the outside? Must be Orlovsky." It's a half joke, since almost all of his passes are just that, high and/or to the outside. There was very little of that in the mock game where Dan was connecting with his receivers all over the field and moving the ball very well. No, he won't overtake Stafford (ever), but brings a reminder why he's on the roster.

Stock Down: Anquan Boldin, WR

His big debut in front of fans couldn't have gone much worse. Catching everything in training camp is a good thing, but not being able to create separation against bottom roster players is not. The first interception of the mock game was by Darrin Walls covering Boldin. Walls has struggled through training camp but beat Boldin handily for this pick. Later, he would be easily covered by undrafted rookie Ian Wells. It's a good thing TJ Jones and Jay Lee are looking good, because if this was a sign of things to come and not an anomaly, the Lions are going to need a reliable third receiver to target.

Stock Up: Cole Wick, TE

Most fans do not realize how difficult the transition from college TE to pro NFL TE is. It's a big jump and the list of tight ends that have made that transition easily can probably fit on a sticky note. Likewise, making the transition from a small school like Incarnate Word to the NFL is also something that generally doesn't happen smoothly or quickly. Cole Wick isn't a superstar tight end, and doesn't look like he's on the way to one despite the praise from training camp. That said, he looks like he will not only make the Detroit Lions roster, but contribute all season. That's a feat nearly unheard of in today's NFL, and while I feel fans are going to put some undue expectations on the rookie (Like he will overtake Ebron as starter, which barring severe injury isn't close to happening), Cole Wick looks like a guy who can catch 15 or more passes and add a couple touchdowns in key situations. That's not bad for a guy coming from a school that has had more head coaches since 2009 (three) than it has NFL players (including Wick, two).

Stock Down: First Team Everything

The mock game went with the first-team offense vs. third-team defense and second-team offense vs. first-team defense. What you'd expect in this situation is the first team putting on a show against the guys further down the depth chart. Teams do this to put on a show for fans and to work on the finer mechanics of their respective sides of the ball. What ended up happening was watching the first-team offense stall time after time while the second-team offense mopped the floor with the first-team defense. From an evaluation standpoint, it was a horror show. If I had to single out a group that did the worst, it would be the first-team linebackers, who could cover no one, followed by first-team receivers who caught next to nothing. The only saving grace for the first team was Eric Ebron, who would have been the talk of the day even without his mystery injury. To end on a positive note for first team, check this video out.

Quick Hits

Stock Up

Johnson Bademosi, CB: Signed for his ST ability, Bademosi has been hit or miss as a cornerback. More hit than miss in the mock game and practice.
Jace Billingsley, WR: Camp hasn't been kind, but he got a little work in the mock game and made another shifty grab while pulling away from his trailing corner.
Josh Bynes, LB: He played poorly, but he was back in his No. 1 reserve role.
Orson Charles, LB: He isn't going to make this team, but it was good to see him playing a little better than he had in camp during the mock game.
Damian Copeland, WR: If it weren't for the very serious injury concerns, we'd probably be talking about Copeland as a sleeper to make the team. 
Kerry Hyder, DE: Hyder is a long shot to even make the practice squad, and has had a rough camp, but got the best of Riley Reiff on a play (just the one), so deserves a nod for that.

Isaiah Johnson, SS: We finally got to see Johnson against the ones. It went well, but that was mostly since he wasn't targeted with the ball coming out fast and short most plays. 
Matthew Mulligan, TE: The journeyman tight end was able to get some more work in the mock game and looked reliable. If the team keeps a third tight end, it will be Mulligan for certain.
Caraun Reid, DT: After a pretty rough training camp, Reid looked good against the first team OL. Hopefully a sign of turning things back around. 
Stevan Ridley, RB: Ridley did some good work for second team. He still danced like Reggie Bush when going up the middle, though, so I don't think his role will be that "power back" one we hoped he'd fill.

Andre Roberts, WR: Took a return to the house and put a cap on a camp where he started off weak and pushed further every day. Will get a long preseason look.
Khyri Thornton, DT: A dark horse who came out of nowhere, I'd put Thornton somewhere between the third and fourth best DT in camp, not coincidentally where the Lions have been playing him.
Darrin Walls, CB: If you've had a spotty camp, you can usually make up for some of that with a pick six against Anquan Boldin and Matthew Stafford.
Ian Wells, CB: Another corner who's had a tough go of it, Wells looked strong and quick wile covering first team receivers. A good overall showing.

Stock Down

Crezdon Butler, CB: Part of why Jay Lee was having such a good day was the coverage by Butler. Beaten like a drum.
Jon Bostic, LB: Lack of coverage skills at linebacker were exposed early and often with the help of Bostic.
Andre Caldwell, WR: He had made some strides in previous days of camp, but was overshadowed completely by Lee and Roberts on Saturday.
Stefan Charles, DT: He hasn't been making plays in training camp and continued to not do so during the mock game.
Chase Farris, OG: Since moving up to second team, Farris has been consistently exposed for a lack of technique and ability to gain and sustain leverage.

Graham Glasgow, OC: He's locked into that second-team role, but was beaten routinely during the mock game. Still requires a lot of work.
Jeremy Kerley, WR: I think we can put a fork in the former Jets receiver. A one-time assumed starter, he's been crushed in every camp competition, including returner.
Miles Killebrew, SS: Drew the unfortunate responsibility of covering Eric Ebron in the mock game. We got to see just how raw his coverage skills are, highlighting the work needing to be done.
Jimmy Landes, LS: He wasn't awful, but his placement was still inconsistent. He failed to follow up an excellent Friday and was shown up by Muhlbach on Saturday.
Matt Prater, K: Prater had a 59-yard field goal fall short. Quibbling a bit, since he looked good otherwise, but gotta ding him for a miss.
Theo Riddick, RB: The worst drop of the night went to Theo Riddick, who dropped an easy, gimme pass from Stafford that didn't even have much heat on it.
Jake Rudock, QB: As there were Michigan fans in the audience, you'd expect him to have given a better showing. As it is, we saw very little of Rudock and when he finally saw the field it wasn't worth watching. 
Travis Swanson, OC: If you were holding out hope that Travis Swanson would live up to that sudden, inexplicable top 5 center hype, your bubble will be burst as quickly and violently as Swanson has been beaten in camp.
Dwayne Washington, RB: Washington had fumble issues to start camp, drop issues throughout it, and nearly bobbled a kickoff in the mock game. No amount of straight line running can make up for hands that bad.
Tahir Whitehead, LB: Despite a mostly strong camp, Tahir Whitehead was repeatedly burned in coverage during the mock game. His worst showing of camp by some margin.